Stuart Shippee emailed me to say that he has around a thousand original, loaded ammo tubes for the A.B.T. rifle for sale. You can check them out on his website. He was kind enough to send me a few tubes to check out. The price is quite reasonable and so far as I know he’s the only source for the tubes right now.
Heavier duty than my crude home made tubes. They are marked AIR-O-MATIC A.B.T. MFG. CORP. CHICAGO, ILL. U.S.A. with illegible patent numbers.
The tubes I received (for free, no complaints here!) were his “seconds” from the bottom of his box and the balls had some rust. When I tried to force (again, if I have learned anything, and in this case I haven’t, never force anything when it comes to airguns) the feed the tube got carried into the action and shredded.
After cleaning out the mess I ended up manually pushing all the balls out of the other tubes with a pin punch (I had to gently tap with a hammer at first, holding the tube loosely in my hand, to get them started) and reloading the tubes with clean 3/16” ball bearings. I would probably do this even with the good quality ones he’s selling just to make sure, as well as to exercise the 50 year old cardboard. Would you shoot 50 year old cardboard shotgun shells? Again, I have no complaints as what I was after wasn’t 50 year old ball bearings, but 50 year old cardboard tubes.
With the tubes reloaded I had no problem loading, firing, reloading over and over. You just have to be careful with the ends of the tubes that they don’t get mushed, or bent when loading them. I’m happy to have authentic ammunition for my old carny rifle.